Opinion | Trump and the Foiled Plot at the Justice Dept.

To the Editor:

Re “Mutiny Halted Trump Scheme in Justice Dept.” (front page, Jan. 23):

The revelation of the plot hatched by Jeffrey Clark to use the Justice Department to bolster President Donald Trump’s false claims of the election being stolen shows how perilously close this country came to a true constitutional crisis.

It was only the willingness of department officials to put their own careers on the line to halt this anti-democratic scheme that prevented the replacement of Jeffrey Rosen by this Trump loyalist, one with a penchant for conspiracy theories.

Mr. Clark’s name can now be added to the list of politicians like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Kevin McCarthy and sadly many others for whom personal ambition and a cynical disregard for the truth supersede any commitment to their oaths of office and any genuine concern for the welfare of the United States.

Michael Esterowitz
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

Americans must draw the right lesson from this farce. The right lesson is not that democracy worked after all. Nor is it that Donald Trump is an anomaly that will never recur.

If Donald Trump and his minions had been as disciplined and organized as they were contemptuous of democracy, or if the election had been closer, their last-ditch efforts to carry out a coup might have succeeded.

The right lesson is that the president must have absolutely no power over judicial matters: the Justice Department and the federal courts. The Justice Department must operate independently from the White House. Federal judges and the attorney general must be named by a process that excludes the president from participation.

If the fox is allowed to continue to guard the chicken coop, then next time — if he is shrewder and more determined, and has done a better job of installing loyal lackeys to do his bidding — he might really get away with eating the chickens.

Ben Silverman
Rosarito Beach, Mexico

To the Editor:

Because the story on Donald Trump’s attempt to use the Justice Department to overturn election results in Georgia has such strong echoes of Watergate’s Saturday Night Massacre, and because Katie Benner’s excellent reporting paints a portrait of just how desperate and seemingly delusional Donald Trump was, it struck me as the most stunning episode in his never-ending battle to overturn the election.

Since the election we have learned of Mr. Trump’s court challenges to the results, his phone calls to pressure election and other officials in the swing states, and his media campaign that pushed a lie about voter fraud. But his machinations at the Justice Department somehow add a note of desperation that is deeply shocking, even taking into account all we knew of him.

Kay Oppenheimer
Aiken, S.C.
The writer is a retired attorney.

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